Well, you guessed it: We couldn't head back to San Francisco without another day of wine tasting and campin' on the river. However, we didn't go to quite as many wineries as we did our first day, opting for a quick trip to Mendocino on the coast and then a long swim at the location on the Navarro River recommended by Toulouse Winery.
Because we lost track of time, we only got to taste at one winery: Claudia Springs. Claudia Springs's tasting room looked, more or less, like a shed, and it shared a parking lot with a store that looked to sell knick-knacks. For some reason my girlfriend thought this was a good omen. Turned out, she was right.
As the story goes, Winemakers Claudia and Bob Klindt came up to Anderson Valley in 1989 for a weekend vacation and left with the deed to a vineyard. They stumbled upon a vineyard for a good price that came with a house that had all the materials needed to produce wine.
I really enjoyed the first Claudia Springs wines. The rose was practically a red wine it had so much character, but it amazingly maintained the body of a rose. I thought the Pinot Noirs were some of the best I'd ever had, two of which were actually from Harmonique Winery, a sister winery of Claudia Springs. Harmonique wines are crafted by Bob Klindt and Bruce Conzelman. I was completely elated with all the wines, but then came the Zinfandels, of which Claudia Springs had four. Perhaps a simple question of taste, I found them all way too heavy on the cherry-cola and chocolate flavors. As a Zinfandel lover, I was sadly surprised.
Because it was so late, we couldn't make an appointment for the vineyard we most wanted to try in Anderson Valley: Esterlina. But we weren't going to miss it before leaving the next afternoon.